Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Therapeutic stitching...

One of the things I love about blogland, is we're not just about pretty fabrics and what we make of them ;-) There have been some excellent, insightful debates doing the rounds lately too, and I've really enjoyed reading people's views, and admiring their willingness to stick their neck out.

For the last year, my day job has been working in an addiction clinic. This certainly means I feel alarmed when people joke about their fabric addiction, and I've been so touched by the bloggers who have detailed the seriousness of this lately.

Other people have raised the (considerable) cost of fabric, and the price of each quilt. I don't know that we will ever win the battle on changing the mindset of the general public, and creating awareness of the financial cost and the workload that goes into handmade items... This quilt probably cost around £60 in materials but, again through working in a therapeutic clinic, I know that is the cost of just one session of therapy, while this has given me a whole week of gentle creative calm...

The debate around Aurifil and the setback to the feminist movement was extremely well covered, I felt, and informative. I didn't leave comments at the time, as I'd never used Aurifil before. If anything, I tend to react against the 'in thing' and so stuck with my usual thread of choice. However, I succumbed, to see what the hype was all about, and the quilting here is my first ever use of Aurifil, in a pale pink shade. 

Well, I do like it, and have no complaints over quality... but I don't get the hype! I did, however, enjoy a different moment of enlightenment over free motion quilting. My previous attempts have been mixed, and not that encouraging. Who knew that setting my stitch length to a precise 1.8 would lead to a complete transformation?!? I'd read before that you should have it on the shortest possible, but somehow 1.8 gave me precision stitching, with very little issues. Even creeping up or down by 0.2 of a stitch lead to problems on my rough piece.

Additionally, I experimented with speed. I'd heard people say set it on the fastest, others on the slowest... Turns out, my machine likes it bang in the middle. These discoveries lead to a whole new level of satisfaction :-)

The central Liberty fabrics came from a bonus ebay voucher I received, and from a seller there. The outer, edge pieces, were a purchase from Ali, and I so recommend her if you are shopping, not least for her great customer service! I was hugely fortunate to win her giveaway some months' ago, and have received a gorgeous package of Liberty charm squares every month, with one more to go. Exercising restraint, I have stored them away until the set is complete, but nearly there, so it was time to get some practice in!

Lastly, a few items for the never ending cycle of birthday gifts for the many parties Rosie goes to :-) I finally tackled the boxy pouch design, and love the end result.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Quilts for my daughter

Last week, Nesta nominated me for the Round the World Blog Hop... Thank you, Nesta! For my entry, rather than focus on the things I'm currently working on, I decided to show a couple of quilts which I haven't blogged about before...

My daughter was already about four when I started quilting, so I sadly missed out on making all those cute baby quilts! However, I'd just finished my very first, sampler quilt, when she announced that I had to make her an elephant quilt next :-) This made great use of some Laura Ashley precut squares, which two ladies passed on to me, no doubt relieving their guilt that they had bought them twenty years previously and never used them! It suited me fine, and this was my second quilt.

Next up, Rosie had the role of a rain cloud in her infant school assembly... She wore a blue t shirt, with wadded clouds on the front and back, along with some big blue rain drops. With her vivid imagination, as soon as it was over she requested a quilt with one rain cloud, and the other turned into a sheep! I had so much fun making this, it was before I knew about designer fabrics, or any of the fashionable quilt blocks, and just went with the flow...

Interestingly, therefore, this next one to me is far less creative, and more stilted. I felt constricted using these designer fabrics, and compelled to show off the cute pictures of the prints rather than unleash my own imagination... However, this one often makes an appearance on the guest bed when little friends come for a sleepover :-)

The triangles quilt is the most recent one, and I still love the fabrics I chose. Yes, it is a common design, but did involve some skill and precision stitching. I love the serenity of the fabrics, and it has the most gorgeous backing piece!

So, those are the four main quilts for my daughter...not including her various sofa throws! On to the trip around the world questions:

1) Where I live or have lived?
I grew up in Hertfordshire, then moved to the beautiful, historic city of Durham for University. I also spent a year living in Zaragoza, Spain, and a couple of months in Yverdon, Switzerland. Now I'm back in Hertfordshire, though more by default than by any strategic plan!

2) What am I working on?

Lately, I have worked hard at completing all those unfinished projects... So, I am only working on two: an Insanity quilt which involves handstitching 1333 hexagons, and which has been on the go for a mere six years, and my economy blocks. Then I have two pieces in line for quilting, my stunning Bee quilt, and a recent experiment in using blue.

3) How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Hmm, as above, my best tip if you want to be 'different' would be to stop reading blogs and go with your own instincts! However, blogs and their interaction and friendships are so much fun...
4) How does my creating process work?
Process?!? There really isn't one, I just launch in...
Now, technically I am supposed to pass the baton onto other people for this blog hop... However, it really feels that most bloggers have done this now, and the rest are so busy getting their kids back to school this week! Down my sidebar are just a few of the blogs I follow, so you may like to visit one of them for a change? There's so much wonderful inspiration out there :-)